Commentary Magazine


Rand Paul Sinking?

Public Policy Polling is a Democratic outfit, but its polls are generally well regarded and haven’t been out of whack in the primary races. So Republicans should perk up over the latest poll on the Kentucky Senate race:

[Rand] Paul and Jack Conway are getting 43% each. The more Kentucky voters get to know Rand Paul, the less they like him. When PPP first polled the race in December Paul’s favorability was a +3 spread at 26/23. By May it was a -7 spread at 28/35. Now it’s a -8 spread at 34/42. The national media attention Paul has received has hurt his cause with voters in the state- 38% say it has made them less likely to support Paul while 29% say it has made them more inclined to vote for him and 33% say it hasn’t had an impact on their attitude toward Paul one way or the other.

As other polls are released, we’ll see if this is an outlier. But Paul has a problem. Since his civil rights debacle, he’s largely been hiding from the media. As a result, he’s not giving voters anything positive to counter the overwhelmingly negative media coverage he’s received. He needs to explain his views and assure voters that he’s not an extremist. And if he really does hold extreme views on a variety of topics or can’t articulate what views he does have, the GOP primary voters will have made a big mistake, and a relatively “easy” seat may slip through their fingers.